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Tag Archives: Charles Finney

Asahel Nettleton: A Forgotten Evangelist?

Dr. Asahel Nettleton (1783–1844) is considered one of America’s greatest forgotten evangelists. He was a contemporary of Charles Finney and while Finney was conditioning converts and churning out spurious conversions with the anxious seat and altar calls, Nettleton believed this pragmatic “decisionism” was very superficial. In fact, Nettleton was the main opponent of Finney and the “new measures”. He did not seek for quick responses to an open invitation to “come forward” as Finney and his followers did.

It’s said Nettleton’s conversions lasted and bore fruit. For example, of the 84 converts in an 1818 revival atRocky Hill,Connecticut— according to their pastor’s report 26 years later — all 84 had remained faithful. Similarly, only three spurious conversions out of 82 professed commitments were noted by another pastor in his report on revival services held inAshford,Connecticut.  What accounted for this success?

William C. Nichols, modern publisher of Nettleton’s sermons, reported that:

Asahel Nettleton

Nettleton was a thorough student of the human heart. He understood the windings and turnings of the depraved heart and knew how to expose its deceits to awaken the sinner to the desperateness of his lost condition. You who do the work of evangelism today: Are you such a student of the human heart? Do you understand how the unconverted heart operates? In his sermon on “Gospel Warfare” Nettleton said, “Preaching mere external morality will never bring one soul to Christ. That preaching which does not aim at the heart will never bring one soul to Christ. That preaching which does not aim at the heart, and take hold of the conscience, never attacks the strong holds of Satan.” Read More…

I Got Saved Today! I Got saved Today!

I have had my fair share of altar calls. I have walked down many an aisle to the tune of an emotional appeal. These days preachers get converts after appealing for almost anything. Do you want a better house? A happy marriage? Do you think life is hard and your kids don’t finish their porridge? Here is what you can do they say: Just say this prayer and let Jesus into your heart. He will come in and make things alright. He is seriously knocking at that door and he really wants to come in. Wait a minute you say. There is no preaching about sin, no preaching about righteousness no repentance?  Yup, sadly that is the state of evangelicalism. We have mega churches and therefore can accommodate more converts but … to what?


A while ago, William Franklin “Billy” Graham (one of the most recognisable Evangelical faces of the 20th Century) was said as of 1993 to have made more than 2.5 million people “step forward at his crusades to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour“. …Read More!

Altar Calls:Microwave Conversions?

By Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1979)

In the church where I ministered in South Wales I used to stand at the main door of the church at the close of the service on Sunday night, and shake hands with people as they went out. The incident to which I am referring concerns a man who used to come to our service every Sunday night. He was a tradesman but also a heavy drinker. He got drunk regularly every Saturday night, but he was also regularly seated in the gallery of our church every Sunday night. On the particular night to which I am referring I happened to notice while preaching that this man was obviously being affected. I could see that he was weeping copiously, and I was anxious to know what was happening to him. At the end of the service I went and stood at the door. But There’s More

Revivalists: Along Came Charles Finney.

Excerpt from The Legacy of Charles Finney:

[Charles] Finney is particularly esteemed among the leaders of the Christian Right and the Christian Left, and his imprint can be seen in movements that appear to be diverse, but in reality are merely heirs to Finney’s legacy. From the Vineyard movement and the church growth movement to the political and social crusades, televangelism, and the Promise-Keepers movement, as a former Wheaton College president rather glowingly cheered, “Finney lives on!”

That is because Finney’s moralistic impulse envisioned a church that was in large measure an agency of personal and social reform rather than the institution in which the means of grace, Word and Sacrament, are made available to believers who then take the Gospel to the world…

To demonstrate the debt of modern evangelicalism to Finney, we must first notice his theological departures. From these departures, Finney became the father of the antecedents to some of today’s greatest challenges within the evangelical churches themselves; namely, the church growth movement, Pentecostalism and political revivalism.

Who Is Finney?

Reacting against the pervasive Calvinism of the Great Awakening, the successors of that great movement of God’s Spirit turned from God to humans, from the preaching of objective content (namely, Christ and him crucified) to the emphasis on getting a person to “make a decision.”

Charles Finney (1792-1875) ministered in the wake of the “Second Awakening,” as it has been called. A Presbyterian lawyer, Finney one day experienced “a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost” which “like a wave of electricity going through and through me…seemed to come in waves of liquid love.” The next morning, he informed his first client of the day, “I have a retainer from the Lord Jesus Christ to plead his cause and I cannot plead yours.” Refusing to attend Princeton Seminary (or any seminary, for that matter), Finney began conducting revivals in upstate New York. One of his most popular sermons was, “Sinners Bound to Change Their Own Hearts.”… Read More

The Emperor Steps Out in His New Clothes…Again!

Self Esteem

Not many people will not recognise the name Harry Emerson Fosdick. Yet the fabric of most Christian Bestsellers, Contemporary Christian Music, Self Help Literature and Pop motivational psychology is dipped in an age old Self Esteem gospel chalice that was popularised by Mr. Fosdick. Speaking of fabrics, remember the Hans Christian Andersen story of The Emperor’s New Clothes? Read More

Open Air Preaching: Can I Get a Segway For Ray Comfort?

There are several people who have impacted my life in different ways. God has brought me to listen to very insightful teachings that have shaped me and are continually reforming my personal life in ways I probably cannot illustrate. One or two years ago I was searching for tracts online and I landed on a sermon that has always been an inspiration to me. Hell’s Best Secret by Ray Comfort is akin to Keith Green’s classic song Alseep in the Light-once you listen to them they continue to replay in your mind. They are evangelistic anthems so to speak. If you have ever listened to this sermon, you will agree with me it should be broadcast loud and clear, down every byway and highway, every church yard and barn yard needs to resound with this message. Maybe I should get him a Segway for open airpreaching…or well maybe standing on a good old salt box will just do all the same 😉 [The Transcript: Hell’s Best Kept Secret] Read More

End of the Road: Benny Hinn Gets Imitated and Upstaged By Suave Young Protégé

Its one thing to be a preacher it’s another thing to bring oratorical skills to the pulpit and blend it with perfectly choreographed gimmicks to bring hundreds to their feet beckoning for more stories. Doesn’t it just amuse you when a preacher walks to the pulpit with a Bible and then decides to close it as he begins the sermon? My favourite ones are those “anointed coat” swinging show men who blow into microphones and keep repeating over and over, “I feel the anointing of God is here”. But I must say the deadliest are those slick ones who slide past you and mesmerise you to the point that you don’t even notice that they sneaked into the pulpit without a Bible (not even a pocket Message Bible). And as you try to figure where the sermon is going to come from…BANG! He has hit you between the eyes with a “holy ghost” stunner and you are writhing under your seat with your tie choking the living day lights out of you. Read More

Behind the Scenes: The Making of An Apostate


 

No one sets out to become an apostate – it’s never the result of one abrupt, drastic turn away from the Lord. Instead, apostasy is most often the product of a pattern of sinful compromises that harden and gradually steer a professing believer away from the truth. There’s More

Whimpy Whimpy Pastors!

When Paul spoke to the Ephesian elders in his final meeting with them, he said these words: “Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.” (Acts 20:26-27) The true preacher of the Word seeks to have this as his ambition as well. God is not honored when men think so little of Him and so highly of themselves that they edit the content of the proclamation for the fear of the face of men and so that they may be considered “successful” in some worldly sense. Read More

The Dangers, Results, and History of Decisional Regeneration

The early years of my Christian walk were blighted by several unanswered questions and countless doctrinal errors. After coming a cross the Doctrines of Grace I was encouraged to know that my salvation had nothing to do with me. God alone chose to save me not because I was good enough. Not because I was more deserving than the next person. God was gracious to me and brought me to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Watch this clip and leave a comment:

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